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Super League Restructure Discussion (Many Merged Threads)

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We have to deliver a more balanced structure, financially and competitively if the sport is to progress

The progress we have made in terms of attracting more fans and rich owners to the game has been via showcasing professional Rugby League, i.e. Superleague. That success generates the ongoing TV contract that exists to support Superleague. Currently Superleague is short of several £million a year to be self sustaining and so there isn't any spare cash to prop championship clubs up who have lost half their fans since 1996.

Superleague is where the growth in fans and quality players is and so until a surplus can be found from the Superleague operation there'll be little money for the championship clubs who sadly are a poor investment nowadays because fans don't want second tier RL.

If ever our 14 club superleague went into surplus/profit to the tune of seveal million a year they would add two more clubs to it and not rescue the championship clubs. This would be good business sense.

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Superleague is where the growth in fans and quality players is and so until a surplus can be found from the Superleague operation there'll be little money for the championship clubs who sadly are a poor investment nowadays because fans don't want second tier RL.

Ah - one big league is the solution. Everybody in the top tier.

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I think that is a very short sighted view.

 

I don't really have a view, I just put on record what has happened

 

1. SKY wanted an Elite league and pay £90,000,000 a time for it

 

2. Tens of thousands of fans turned on to the elite league and championship club attendances halved.

 

3. Superleague club areas produce the bulk of British pro-RL players who were born in those areas. Few players born in championship club areas play Superleague

 

The facts seem to speak for themselves.

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I don't really have a view, I just put on record what has happened

 

1. SKY wanted an Elite league and pay £90,000,000 a time for it

 

2. Tens of thousands of fans turned on to the elite league and championship club attendances halved.

 

3. Superleague club areas produce the bulk of British pro-RL players who were born in those areas. Few players born in championship club areas play Superleague

 

The facts seem to speak for themselves.

 

Few players born in Championship areas play SL............what on earth is that supposed to mean?

 

Cumbria does'nt produce many SL players does it?

 

Leigh has produced a seriously good number of top SL players! 

 

Halifax, Fev, Oldham?

 

Apart from Harris, Sinfield, Baz Mc etc etc etc who has Oldham ever produced?

 

You might want to rethink that!

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You might want to rethink that!

 

Of the top 222 players in superleague at the start of the season 117 were born in Superleague club areas, 72 were overseas imports inc 3 from wales and 30 were born in championship club areas.

 

Cumbria 5

Leigh 2

Halifax 4

Fev 4

Oldham 4

 

You need to work on more accurate actual figures

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But surely an issue is that no one will be prepared to invest in the championship because no route to promotion.  If little hope of getting a licence no point in overly investing in the team until get a licence - hence the lack of preparedness if your get a licence.  If building for promotion then will build a stronger team to ensure the opportunity of playing for promotion and thus team will be starting from stronger base if do achieve it.  Currently no point as you know no licence for at least a number of years and then little chance anyway.

 

Only way to get any real investment into championship is if you have a realistic aspiration to gain promotion otherwise why bother investing at all.

 

For me the league structure just needs to be x2 divisions of 12 with P&R. Need to work harder at attracting corporate facilities to bring in money (as a successful business person myself I am often appalled by lack of business, commercial and marketing acumen by some in the game) and work at international game which increases exposure - we have always suffered from only ever being interested in clubs and hence paying the penalty for no real international exposure to widen interest and to bring in revenues.   Rugby Union has the huge advantage of massive monies from international game that supports the foundation and enables investment in strategic area's to raise the game.

 

 If little hope of getting a licence no point in overly investing in the team until get a licence

 

Under P nd R not much hope of getting promoted.  Under licencing, clubs still have to have a record of on-field success so they still need to have players good enough to win. 

 

The think to bear in mind id that its not investment in any case, iits a donation.

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The think to bear in mind is that its not investment in any case, its a donation.

 

John Wilkinson made a long series of heavy donations to Salford over 20 years - £millions. The "return" on that "investment" was the impending closure of the club with major debts and what few assets they had left being stripped.

 

Equally "investment" went into Oldham in their Superleague days. AFAIK their asset of Watersheddings was sold to pay back the investor some of the millions wasted and the club financially collapsed and ended up playing small new clubs in a third tier.

 

Great point JohnM. Where someone is happy to "donate" clubs can get away with just taking the money but when the donations stop collapse is usually the result.

 

Where someone "invests" and want's a return on that money, or at least to be paid back, a club can be destroyed by this.

 

Putting millions into a small club is a wonderful ride until they hit the buffers then collapse and destruction results. The game has to live within it's means so P & R far from being a great way of attracting money for nothing (short term) is a great way of destroying clubs out of their depth long term.

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Of the top 222 players in superleague at the start of the season 117 were born in Superleague club areas, 72 were overseas imports inc 3 from wales and 30 were born in championship club areas.

Cumbria 5

Leigh 2

Halifax 4

Fev 4

Oldham 4

You need to work on more accurate actual figures

4? There is more than that playing for Huddersfield who were born in Halifax. Which 4 are you referring to?

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4? There is more than that playing for Huddersfield who were born in Halifax.

Always welcome corrections as accurate information is important to come to accurate conclusions.

Leaving france out 13 clubs x first choice XV11 = 221 players.

I'd be pleased for you to supply the Halifax born lads in the Fartown first XV11......

thank you.

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The think to bear in mind id that its not investment in any case, iits a donation.

True its almost certainly not going to be an investment, but I do sometimes wonder how much actual money it costs benefactors as apposed to money being spent having abit of fun that otherwise would have found its way to the tax man.  Having a loss making rugby club must be a great way to off set profits you'd otherwise have paid some sort of tax on while your alive and perhaps even in death a good accountant could have set your affairs up to limit your familys inheritance hit with a plan kicking in years before death.

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Of the top 222 players in superleague at the start of the season 117 were born in Superleague club areas, 72 were overseas imports inc 3 from wales and 30 were born in championship club areas.

 

Cumbria 5

Leigh 2

Halifax 4

Fev 4

Oldham 4

 

You need to work on more accurate actual figures

 

Salford

Darrel Griffin – Oxford

Lee Jewitt – Oldham

Jordan James – Bath (Somerset)

Marc Sneyd – Oldham

Gareth Owen – Oldham

Niall Evalds – Halifax

Jack Holmes – Leigh

Edwin Okanga-Ajwang – Halifax

 

London

Mike Bishay – Ashford (Middlesex)

Mason Caton-Brown – Enfield

Michael Channing – Guildford

Tony Clubb – Gravesend

Kieron Dixon – Hackney

Will Lovell – Northampton

Mike McMeeken – Basingstoke

Jamie O’Callaghan – Hammersmith

Oscar Thomas – Paddington

 

Leeds

Ian Kirke – Doncaster

Richard Moore – Keighley

Kevin Sinfield – Oldham

Brad Singleton – Barrow

 

St Helens

Ade Gardner – Barrow

Jordan Turner – Oldham

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook – London

Mark Flanagan – Oldham

Josh Jones – Leyland

Alex Walmsley – Dewsbury

Joe Greenwood – Oldham

 

Warrington

Chris Bridge – Oldham

Chris Hill – Leigh

Ben Harrison – Barrow

Micky Higham – Leigh

Simon Grix – Halifax

Ben Currie – Golborne

Rhys Williams – Flintshire (North Wales)

James Mendeika – Leigh

 

Wigan

Josh Charnley – Chorley

Matty Smith – Whiston

Lee Mossop – Whitehaven

Chris Tuson – Leyland

 

Hull FC

Tom Briscoe – Featherstone

Danny Tickle – Golborne

Richard Whiting – Featherstone

Liam Watts – Featherstone

 

Hull KR

Omari Caro – Hammersmith

 

Bradford

Matt Diskin – Dewsbury

Adam O’Brien – Halifax

James Donaldson – Whitehaven

 

Huddersfield

Scott Grix - Doncaster

Joe Wardle – Halifax

Danny Brough – Dewsbury

Luke Robinson – Halifax

Eorl Crabtree – Cleethorpes

Shaun Lunt – Whitehaven

Larne Patrick – Blackpool

Jacob Fairbank – Halifax

Stuart Fielden – Halifax

 

Castleford

Lee Gilmour – Dewsbury

Ben Davies – Leigh

Keith Mason – Dewsbury

 

Wakefield

Peter Fox – York

Paul Sykes – Dewsbury

Danny Kirmond – Featherstone

Kyle Amor – Whitehaven

Oliver Wilkes – Ulverston (Cumbria)

 

Widnes

Jon Clarke – Lowton (Leigh)

Eamon O’Carroll – Oldham

Ben Kavanagh – Cumbria?

 

Catalans

Ian Henderson – Torquay

 

69 players listed above

 

9 - Oldham

9 - Cumbrians

8 - Halifax

6 - Leigh

6 - Dewsbury

4 - Featherstone

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Where they were born is irrelevant to me. To claim that the South West of England is some sort of hotbed because it produced Jordan James and Ian Henderson is ridiculous.

Where were they living when they started playing ? Which club nurtured that talent ?

Ulverston's in Lancashire, by the way .........

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Salford

Darrel Griffin – Oxford

Lee Jewitt – Oldham

Jordan James – Bath (Somerset)

Marc Sneyd – Oldham

Gareth Owen – Oldham

Niall Evalds – Halifax

Jack Holmes – Leigh

Edwin Okanga-Ajwang – Halifax

 

London

Mike Bishay – Ashford (Middlesex)

Mason Caton-Brown – Enfield

Michael Channing – Guildford

Tony Clubb – Gravesend

Kieron Dixon – Hackney

Will Lovell – Northampton

Mike McMeeken – Basingstoke

Jamie O’Callaghan – Hammersmith

Oscar Thomas – Paddington

 

Leeds

Ian Kirke – Doncaster

Richard Moore – Keighley

Kevin Sinfield – Oldham

Brad Singleton – Barrow

 

St Helens

Ade Gardner – Barrow

Jordan Turner – Oldham

Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook – London

Mark Flanagan – Oldham

Josh Jones – Leyland

Alex Walmsley – Dewsbury

Joe Greenwood – Oldham

 

Warrington

Chris Bridge – Oldham

Chris Hill – Leigh

Ben Harrison – Barrow

Micky Higham – Leigh

Simon Grix – Halifax

Ben Currie – Golborne

Rhys Williams – Flintshire (North Wales)

James Mendeika – Leigh

 

Wigan

Josh Charnley – Chorley

Matty Smith – Whiston

Lee Mossop – Whitehaven

Chris Tuson – Leyland

 

Hull FC

Tom Briscoe – Featherstone

Danny Tickle – Golborne

Richard Whiting – Featherstone

Liam Watts – Featherstone

 

Hull KR

Omari Caro – Hammersmith

 

Bradford

Matt Diskin – Dewsbury

Adam O’Brien – Halifax

James Donaldson – Whitehaven

 

Huddersfield

Scott Grix - Doncaster

Joe Wardle – Halifax

Danny Brough – Dewsbury

Luke Robinson – Halifax

Eorl Crabtree – Cleethorpes

Shaun Lunt – Whitehaven

Larne Patrick – Blackpool

Jacob Fairbank – Halifax

Stuart Fielden – Halifax

 

Castleford

Lee Gilmour – Dewsbury

Ben Davies – Leigh

Keith Mason – Dewsbury

 

Wakefield

Peter Fox – York

Paul Sykes – Dewsbury

Danny Kirmond – Featherstone

Kyle Amor – Whitehaven

Oliver Wilkes – Ulverston (Cumbria)

 

Widnes

Jon Clarke – Lowton (Leigh)

Eamon O’Carroll – Oldham

Ben Kavanagh – Cumbria?

 

Catalans

Ian Henderson – Torquay

 

69 players listed above

 

9 - Oldham

9 - Cumbrians

8 - Halifax

6 - Leigh

6 - Dewsbury

4 - Featherstone

 

It's important to me though John and I'm grateful to Lord Charles for the list.

 

However, the criteria for comparison was to compare professional players from (IMHO born is the best way) superleague clubs against players from championship clubs by comparing like with like.

 

So I roughly compared the players in the first 17 of the SL squads at the start of the season.

 

In the above list (thank you again for your efforts) there are players listed who were not in the first XV11 of their clubs pro squad.

 

If you are adding in some of the fringe players and youngsters Lord Charles, then we also need to add it the fringe players and youngsters from Superleague areas.

 

Your list makes an average of 7 to 8 superleague players produced from each of Cumbria, Oldham. Halifax, Leigh, and Dewsbury.

 

I had the figure of about 4 players so there's a difference. Forgive me for not having the time at the mo, but the difference is you may have looked at the full first team squads and beyond whereas I didn't. I looked at the top players because some kids don't make it.

 

Taking Leeds for example I don't think I had Minns? Baldwinson and Sutcliffe in the 22 Leeds born lads playing Superleague so that would go to 24. Certainly I didn't have several young lads who are now getting first team games for Wigan (and others) in my Wigan list of 25 Wigan born so that may go out to 28 or more!.

 

If you had the time you could perhaps apply the same criteria for SL clubs complete the analysis comparing your version of like for like and see what you think about the "proposal" I make which is Superleague areas supply far more professional players than championship areas.

 

Another way I did it may match John's suggestion. I added up how many junior clubs were playing out of superleague areas and how many out of championship areas. there are far more junior clubs in Superleague areas and in Leeds the figure is growing so I still stand by the idea that Superleague grows the junior base and delivers far more professionals than depressed or small championship areas....

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So very much like the RFL you can manipulate figures in any way to suit your argument. 

 

The vast majority of the players in the list have played regular first team rugby over the last 12 months, but you split hairs if you like and if you went through the FULL SL squads there would be plenty more to add to this list as I have not been through the entirety of the fully contracted SL players list at each club.

 

But lets remember its facts you deal in and strangely the list I produced is flawed in your opinion.

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So very much like the RFL you can manipulate figures in any way to suit your argument. 

 

The vast majority of the players in the list have played regular first team rugby over the last 12 months, but you split hairs if you like and if you went through the FULL SL squads there would be plenty more to add to this list as I have not been through the entirety of the fully contracted SL players list at each club.

 

But lets remember its facts you deal in and strangely the list I produced is flawed in your opinion.

 

You wanted a discussion. So leave out "manipulation" and "splitting  hairs" please...........

 

We have done our lists different ways so both are entirely valid.

 

In any event If you don't want to complete your part analysis, I an perfectly happy to take your figures in good faith as they are and you have 42 plus players who are from Championship club areas who are playing Superleague rugby league.

 

I have 117 against your figures and I have several more to add in as I said, but no matter we will use what we have.........

 

So we both probably agree? that 13 Superleague clubs have produced at least twice as many professionals than the championship clubs and there's far more of them.

 

My conclusion is that Superleague as an elite competition is important not only because it attracts so many spectators old and new to the game, whereas the Championship loses them.

 

But it also produces far more professional players than the championship areas produce.

 

Bottom line is I don't want to "suit my argument" I want discussions to be based on facts we can all agree on. If it is a fact that championship clubs can grow the fanbase and produce large numbers of professionals then for sure I want them to be given money to do so. Why would I not???????

 

But they can't.

 

Even the ones born there go off to Superleague clubs........

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Player production statistics are a futile way of showing SL as some kind of talisman for player development when they ditch their development squads.

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No we don't agree.

 

What I am proposing would take SL to 20 full time clubs as opposed to 14, this allows a greater number of british players to stay in the game from say 18 - 23 on a full time basis at an appropriate level, when they are most likely to develop/progress as players.

 

Granted there would be SL 1 & SL 2, but clubs like Leigh, Halifax, Fev, Widnes, Cas, Wakey, Sheffield etc all have the potential to A) generate home crowds of 3.5K +, B) Contribute to a towards a strong and intense competition at that level, C) Provide a stable platform to develop the home grown Talent pool outside of SL1.

 

The opportunities for British players to focus, train, play and develop in a full time environment need to be increased if the sport is to move forward in the UK.

 

10 clubs being full time in SL2 will push SL1 teams to improve in all areas as their status would not be safe in a P&R environment, all 20 clubs playing in an 8 match group based cup tournament that requires SL1 teams to name a minimum of 9 british born U23's in their 19 man squad will again push the development of the overall talent pool and give the supporters of all 20 SL clubs something to really look forward to, as we know some of the rivalry is tribal!

 

Leigh v Wigan, Halifax v Huddersfield, Widnes v Wire, Fev v Leeds etc etc etc would all pull good crowds with great atmosphere, banter, passion and rivalry, don't you think?

 

If we as a sport we want to become the best in the world, then we absolutely must increase the number of players from the British talent pool that are in a full time professional environment in a balanced, intense, well supported competition and this is the only way I can find to do it.

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4? There is more than that playing for Huddersfield who were born in Halifax. Which 4 are you referring to?

 

Well Lord Charles has helped here.

 

I had Grix, Grix, Wardle and Robinson as shall we say first team squad players

 

O'Brien - a 20 shirt

Fairbank - a 20 shirt

Evalds - a 25 shirt

Fielded a 29 shirt

Okanga - a 34 shirt

 

So like for like I'd add Sutcliffe and Baldwinson into Leeds (not sure about Minns birthplace)  to make 24.

 

Again that underlines the problem.

 

Leeds - £6,000,000 turnover true Superleague club who produce their own players are too much of a match for Bradford (went bust) Huddersfield (propped up by £1,000,000 a year) and Halifax (collapsed financially). Of course Leeds absorbed Hunslet and Bramley into their set up.

 

That's how they did it.

 

To argue that we can make the game more financially viable by trying to back every club we can find to keep the "old order" doesn't stack up at all as good business. The only good business we've done in 117 years is Superleague.

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No we don't agree.

 

What I am proposing would take SL to 20 full time clubs as opposed to 14, this allows a greater number of british players to stay in the game from say 18 - 23 on a full time basis at an appropriate level, when they are most likely to develop/progress as players.

 

Granted there would be SL 1 & SL 2, but clubs like Leigh, Halifax, Fev, Widnes, Cas, Wakey, Sheffield etc all have the potential to A) generate home crowds of 3.5K +, B) Contribute to a towards a strong and intense competition at that level, C) Provide a stable platform to develop the home grown Talent pool outside of SL1.

 

The opportunities for British players to focus, train, play and develop in a full time environment need to be increased if the sport is to move forward in the UK.

 

10 clubs being full time in SL2 will push SL1 teams to improve in all areas as their status would not be safe in a P&R environment, all 20 clubs playing in an 8 match group based cup tournament that requires SL1 teams to name a minimum of 9 british born U23's in their 19 man squad will again push the development of the overall talent pool and give the supporters of all 20 SL clubs something to really look forward to, as we know some of the rivalry is tribal!

 

Leigh v Wigan, Halifax v Huddersfield, Widnes v Wire, Fev v Leeds etc etc etc would all pull good crowds with great atmosphere, banter, passion and rivalry, don't you think?

 

If we as a sport we want to become the best in the world, then we absolutely must increase the number of players from the British talent pool that are in a full time professional environment in a balanced, intense, well supported competition and this is the only way I can find to do it.

 

I find your post very interesting and would love to see 14 stay, or 16,18, 20 brilliant. If they could all operate full time equally brilliant.

 

I'm sorry to be a naysayer but I am a believer that where you put two SL clubs together unless they operate on a even keel like Wigan and Saints, or Leeds and Hull.............

 

Then the bigger club will just sign the best players off the smaller club (as Hull are doing to HKR)

 

The bigger club will market to the fans in the smaller clubs area (as Bradford did sending their season ticket bus into Batley etc)

 

You must remember my club is (was?) Hunslet. Gary Hetherington has taken nearly every potential new fan in south Leeds off the club to leave us with 400 fans, and taken every quality junior player from the area (Ablett, Walker, Sutcliffe, McShane, Baldwinson etc) such that we now have to act as their "A" team.

 

We aren't poles apart I too favour a set number of professional clubs in a stable environment, my number against yours is maybe on the pessimistic side........

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John Wilkinson made a long series of heavy donations to Salford over 20 years - £millions. The "return" on that "investment" was the impending closure of the club with major debts and what few assets they had left being stripped.

Equally "investment" went into Oldham in their Superleague days. AFAIK their asset of Watersheddings was sold to pay back the investor some of the millions wasted and the club financially collapsed and ended up playing small new clubs in a third tier.

Great point JohnM. Where someone is happy to "donate" clubs can get away with just taking the money but when the donations stop collapse is usually the result.

Where someone "invests" and want's a return on that money, or at least to be paid back, a club can be destroyed by this.

Putting millions into a small club is a wonderful ride until they hit the buffers then collapse and destruction results. The game has to live within it's means so P & R far from being a great way of attracting money for nothing (short term) is a great way of destroying clubs out of their depth long term.

Once again your Oldham 'facts' are nonsense Parky. There was no significant investment and the money from the sale of Watersheddings was NOT used to make any repayment.

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Where we are now as a sport in the current SL era has almost stifled player development in a productive manner outside of the big 14 and even some of that 14 are hardly great at it.

 

As it stands under the current scenario, the rich get richer or funded (SL), and the poor get poorer (Championship), that divide is increasing season on season and at some point it will kill the sport.

 

What people need to understand is that it is the overall sport that matters from grass roots up, not just 14 bloody SL clubs, unfortunately that competition (SL), its members and the NGB (RFL) are struggling to see it, so until such time as they collectively go to specsavers, wake up and smell the coffee, etc etc etc, then we will continue to see the "I'm alright Jack" mentality prevail until such time as they are "Up't creek, bout a paddle", individually as clubs or collectively as a competition or NGB.

 

Moronic if you ask me and desperately short sighted.

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Where we are now as a sport in the current SL era has almost stifled player development in a productive manner outside of the big 14 and even some of that 14 are hardly great at it.

 

As it stands under the current scenario, the rich get richer or funded (SL), and the poor get poorer (Championship), that divide is increasing season on season and at some point it will kill the sport.

 

What people need to understand is that it is the overall sport that matters from grass roots up, not just 14 bloody SL clubs, unfortunately that competition (SL), its members and the NGB (RFL) are struggling to see it, so until such time as they collectively go to specsavers, wake up and smell the coffee, etc etc etc, then we will continue to see the "I'm alright Jack" mentality prevail until such time as they are "Up't creek, bout a paddle", individually as clubs or collectively as a competition or NGB.

 

Moronic if you ask me and desperately short sighted.

What he said...

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Once again your Oldham 'facts' are nonsense Parky. There was no significant investment and the money from the sale of Watersheddings was NOT used to make any repayment.

 

Well give us the story of how Oldham collapsed then if you would be so kind? I did say AFAIK,.

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I'm sorry if this has already been covered but just a thought on 'Super League2'.............if say London and Castleford for example were to be relegated from Super League in 2014, then in 2015 its a good bet that these clubs along with maybe Fev and one or 2 others would go for broke to try and get into 'Super League 1' within the first season.

 

If there was only to be 1 place for promotion in 2015 then could these clubs that miss out on promotion in that season then be bankrupt from going for broke to try and get into the elitte league at 1st attempt?

 

I hope I've explained my point clearly cos these restructure ideas can play with the mind!!!!

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